Ed Heskett
Blog, Operational Efficiency

The turnover rate in the hospitality sector was more than 70 percent in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the average cost of replacing a single employee is more than $3,000. This cost significantly impacts your bottom line – not to mention the time, energy, training, and operational loss that occurs as people learn new positions and make mistakes. Restaurant employee hiring is a high-stakes process.

While employee turnover is expected in our industry, it doesn’t have to reach the 70 percent level. In my 20+ years of experience in above store leader roles, I’ve learned and instilled in my teams that people (and their performance) are important investments in our business. When we invest in our staff and focus on training, coaching, and data, they’re more likely to be motivated and perform well – and less likely to leave. Below are four areas to focus on that will reduce employee turnover.

#1) Hiring and orientation: Make it matter

Retention begins in the interview process. Collect as much information as you can so that you’re hiring the very best candidate. And don’t forget to conduct reference checks! I have seen time and again the teams that struggle with turnover are incomplete in this process.

After you’ve hired the right people, set them up to win with a quality orientation, every time. Filling out paperwork and handing over an employment handbook is not orientation – it’s setting your new team member up for failure.

Make sure you explain the restaurant’s rules, policies, and expectations, and break up the training into bite-sized pieces over two or three different sessions. That way, the information can be more clearly understood, and you can make sure all of your new staff member’s questions are answered. Also, take the time to meet with your team individually to set your expectations and commitment to your company’s policies and procedures.


#2) Training: Expand on what’s given to you

The initial training and demonstration of tasks is typically very good, especially with video and specific training steps that each brand uses. What gets lost is the skill observation checklist. Ask yourself if the employee can do the job properly and to company standards.

The more time and energy you invest into validating whether or not your team knows their jobs and can execute them effectively, the more successful they will be.

 

 


#3) Coaching: Don’t wait

Creating a culture of coaching and accountability is the hallmark of all successful businesses and can prevent costly turnover. Managers and leaders who don’t coach their teams will not succeed in our business.

Remember to:

  1. Provide specific feedback, in the moment when possible, to sustain high-level performance. And don’t wait. If you see a teachable moment, say something immediately.
  2. Cheer your team on, and catch them doing things right. We can get caught up in what’s going wrong and forget to point out what’s going well. Make a point to notice – and affirm – your employees.

A huge miss in coaching is waiting for a loss to occur before coaching or disciplining. ALWAYS coach the behavior before there is a loss. You will protect your business and save an employee.

For example, an employee continues to violate the back door policy but it goes un-coached. Then, one day the back door policy is violated and a robbery occurs. In this case, you may have no choice but to fire the employee. This isn’t solely the employee’s fault. The manager missed opportunities to coach and correct the employee along the way.


#4) Technology: Use it to your advantage

As an above store leader, my time was stretched thin. Instead of spending hours pulling employee and restaurant reports from different systems, I used streamlined technology to my advantage. Web-based tools that give you insights into operational issues, like Delaget Coach and Delaget Guard, provide analytics and guidance that are helpful in identifying and acting on coaching opportunities. Using these tools, I was easily able to gauge employee performance and pinpoint missed revenue.


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